Despite recently testing positive for COVID-19 and having his scheduled rematch with Uriah Hall postponed, former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman has remained confident about how the bout will play out when it eventually takes place.
Originally, Weidman and Hall were scheduled to run things back at UFC 258 on February 13, but Weidman’s illness, which caused him to lose 12 pounds, has led to the fight being moved to April. The change of plans hasn’t seemed to bother the 36-year-old New Yorker, though, as he recently said that he still expects to finish Hall.
“I gotta say, I’m a freakin’ beast right now,” Weidman told Submission Radio. “I’m a different animal right now. I feel good, minus the coronavirus. I really am fully engaged and motivated to go out there and make a statement, and I’m going to be very hard to beat. So, I’m coming at him, and I could see me finishing him in the first round again. I could also see me breaking his will, and it might head to second or third round, but I’m gonna finish him.”
As the former titleholder mentioned, he did indeed score a first-round finish over Hall when the two met at Ring of Combat 31 in September 2010. The win also earned Weidman the Ring of Combat middleweight championship.
Following the win over Hall, “The All American” competed one more time under the Ring of Combat banner before making the jump to the UFC, where he went on a nine-fight win streak and became the promotion’s 185-pound champion.
However, after losing his title in 2015, things got a bit rocky for Weidman, as he’s gone just 2-4 since surrendering the strap to Luke Rockhold. He returned to his winning ways in his most recent outing, though, as he scored a grueling decision victory over Omari Akhmedov last August.
And despite the hardships and setbacks he’s faced over the years, Weidman still has goals he’d like to achieve before hanging up his gloves for good. The biggest of those goals is obviously reclaiming the UFC middleweight strap.
“A big win, a huge statement on pay-per-view, dominating finish definitely puts me back up in the mix,” Weidman continued. “Whether it’s one, two, three fights until I’m fighting for the title, it definitely puts me back into the mix. To go out there and be able to finish Uriah Hall, I think puts me right back in the mix. Especially with my resume already. So, I’m excited, man. I really want to finish my career on a high note. I want to finish it with that belt in my hands and be able to walk away. And I know I got the potential to do it, and I just gotta stay active and keep working hard, and the sky’s the limit.”
For Weidman, another impressive victory over Hall will be necessary to keep his title hopes alive.
Long Island-based sports writer covering MMA, Boxing, and the New York Jets.